EU awaits watchdog's coronavirus vaccine decision
The EU's drug regulator will decide on Monday whether to authorise the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, with desperate countries hoping for the green light to finally start inoculating their citizens, according to AFP.
The Amsterdam-based European Medicines Agency dramatically moved the decision on the jab ahead from December 29, following pressure to accelerate the process from Germany and other EU states.
The clamour for action grew as Britain and the United States have already started giving their citizens the vaccine developed by US giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech under emergency national rules.
The EU will start Covid-19 inoculations on December 27 providing the EMA grants a one-year conditional marketing authorisation, the European Commission has said.
The regulator said it had worked around the clock to speed things up, but needed to make sure the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was safe and effective, in order to avoid any doubts that could affect uptake.
"We have been able to revise the timetables for the evaluation of the Covid-19 vaccines due to the incredible efforts of everybody involved in these assessments," EMA chief Emer Cooke said last week.
"The number of infections is increasing across Europe and we are aware of the huge responsibility we have to get a vaccine to the market as quickly as is feasible, whilst maintaining the robustness of our scientific review."
The EMA said that if a decision is not possible at the meeting on Monday, then it will hold another meeting on the original December 29 date to rethink.
A decision on another vaccine produced by US firm Moderna is due by January 6.